Project Name: Iluka House

Location: Palm Beach, NSW Australia

Date Completed: November 2016

Interior Designer: Charlene Cong

Architect: Jeremy Bull

Iluka House project is the transformation of an existing waterfront holiday villa in Palm Beach, Sydney. The project is a restrained approach to a traditional European vernacular, exploring bespoke quality detailing, materiality and architectural framing. With the existing house ineffectively dealing with scale limitations, the brief was primarily to explore how we could reintroduce a higher quality of spatial resolution. The plans and volumes were subsequently rationalised around better circulation, view corridors and access to the water.

An emphasis was placed on architectural framing and the suitable transition from interior to exterior. The garden was refined, designed with proportion in mind in order to achieve a sense of privacy as well as maximize use of amenities for the client. The large-scale opening explored opportunity for external living and dining, an integral aspect to the client brief addressing the need for entertaining spaces, essential for a ‘home away from home’. The design of the home as a holiday house meant that the open plan living space and garden were to become the central focus, as entertaining and hosting guests is a regular activity. Subsequent thresholds and vistas between the inside, the balconies/ courtyard and the exterior provided the ability to open up out onto the garden area in such a way as to assist the need for flexibility.

With limited access for storage space, the challenge was to create maximized space without enlarging the building. Through effective spatial organization, existing spaces were utilized to its fullest potential, which can be seen within spaces such as the ‘concealed’ laundry. The design of the home was effective in its focus around spatial planning in order to maximise existing space. Compromising unused areas with essential amenities such as a guest bathroom allowed for improvements in the function of the space. The dwelling, pushed back from the water’s edge presented challenges due to this lack of physical connection that was evident in neighbouring properties. The core idea focused on neutralizing the exterior in a way that fits in with the landscape to avoid detracting from the beauty of the surrounding context. A contemporary and minimalist approach for the garden allowed for the view to become the main focus.

Through the exploration Alexander & Co were successful at creating an open space that spills out onto the outdoor garden allowing for a connection between the building and waterfront. The house is focused upon the ‘handmade’. Fittings, finishes, lighting, and claddings all express an artisan reference point. Constant interaction and collaborative work with sub-contractor and consultants through workshopping of ideas rather than simple execution was essential in delivering the best possible design outcome. With the focus on bespoke, well-refined design details, a high level of craftsmanship was required to complement the refined interiors.